I’ve used horses in the backcountry for over 20 years and attribute much of my success to my ol’ cayuses. There are times, though, that the logistics of caring for them miles from nowhere make it a daunting endeavor. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is keeping your horse well-fed during the hunt. Miss that part and your horse suffers as do you. It’s hard to get to the deer country before first light when your mount is stopping at every wisp of grass trailside.
One of the most common questions I get is “How do you feed them and still have time to hunt?” My answer is training, training, training (the horse that is.)
A picket stake system is simply a hobble (like handcuffs but for a horse), a 3/8″ nylon rope (any Home Depot for less than $6), a stake (or tree), and a knot that you can get undone even after Ol’ Mr. Nibbles yanks on it all night. You horse has to be trained to use a picket stake at home in a safe and supervised environment.
Following is a video on the system that I use (and an additional tip for leading a pack horse.)
The knot I showed in the video wasn’t totally complete. Make two wraps around the tree or stake before tying the knot. That makes the knot even easier to get undone.
Anyone else use the picket stake? If not, what do you use?